Well – what a wonderful inbox of positive messages from yesterday’s travelogue – totally unexpected, and please don’t feel you have to respond every day. It’s already uplifting to know that so many people are tracking our adventurous progress.
Forgot to mention, yesterday…. Illustrations of two sides of the US male – maybe one voted for Trump and the other didn’t! So, the US immigration guy in Victoria offered a cheery “good morning” at 4:45 a.m. (Bonus point). Asked where we were going: “Mexico”. How many days will you spend transiting the US: “We’re planning to cross the border at Laredo on Tuesday morning.” Big smile, “Ah – I’m from Laredo, Texas myself.” Thereafter a pleasant conversation about Laredo, the pros of our choice of border crossing, a few useful tips once we hit the Mexican side at Nuevo Laredo… and he sent us on our way. Definitely NOT a Trumpet!
Passing through US customs in Port Angeles –
Q: Surly, unsmiling customs officer asked, anything to declare?
Q: No drugs, firearms, fruit, vegetables?
A: No (Fortunately, he forgot to ask about animal products, and we still had a bag of dog kibble in the back of the car, enough for the journey. But you know what they say – only answer the questions that are asked and don’t volunteer information.)
Q: Where are you heading?
Q: Been there before?
Q: (absolute incredulity) And you’re going back?
With a scowl and a sneer he waved us through – definitely a ‘Trumpet’. In fact, he will likely be one of the first to apply when it comes to manning the wall!!!
Well – what a difference a day makes. We set the alarm for 5:30 this morning to check-out of the fleabag hotel – although we didn’t experience any actual bed bugs, but you definitely didn’t want to walk the floor in bare feet, and felt like washing your hands after touching anything in the room. Decided also it would be good to cover a few miles before the weather heated up but, thankfully, today only hit a high of 30 degrees C, so much more pleasant. Until we hit Salt Lake City! The place has certainly grown since we last passed through around 10 years ago, and now stretches from Ogden in the north, right through to Provo. When we hit the areas of five and six traffic lanes (aaarrrrggghhh!) I suggested we use the HOV lane, which kept us moving at a good clip! However, after an hour, and no sign of the heavy traffic clearing, (can’t imagine how it would have been on a weekday during rush hour!), Peter decided he’d had enough of the tailgating mentality if you weren’t going fast enough for the car behind, so swept across to the inside lane to pootle until we cleared Provo. Phew!!! Doesn’t SLC have a transit system? Or does no one use it at weekends?
Having already booked a hotel in Monticello – south of Moab – we spent the afternoon drifting through the spectacular scenery of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks – realizing we could likely spend a week here and enjoy the fantastic hiking, biking, rafting…! Another time! Moab is the Utah equivalent of Banff – most hotel rooms starting at US$230+ – hence our reservation at the newly refurbished ‘Inn at The Canyons’ in Monticello, and what a fabulous place. If last night’s room scored 0/10 – this is definitely a 9.9/10 – the 0.1 point lost because, although we loved the towels folded into flowers, room service had forgotten to fold the end of the toilet roll into a neat little point!!! Que sera!
As hotels, quite rightly, don’t like dogs being left unattended in rooms, and we needed to eat, we noticed a cottage diner just across the road. Peter explained that we needed a take-out and they provided two ’superlicious’ pasta dishes, in boxes that we could take back to the hotel.
So, tomorrow, we’re headed to Artesia, just north of Carlsbad, New Mexico, famous for its bat caverns – and I do mean the flying kind! Apparently, every evening at sunset, thousands emerge from the caverns for their nighttime dining spree – something I’ll definitely not get excited about, although I’m sure it’s quite a sight!
I’ll leave you with a photo of Paddington Bear, who has likely travelled the equivalent of a couple of times around the world with us, enjoying the view from the dashboard as we approach Canyonlands NP. There were some spectacular storm clouds forming, although only a few drops of rain fell before the sunshine reappeared, so PB didn’t actually need his wellington boots.
Signing off till tomorrow…